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Elden Ring Preview

Editor's Note

Our following hands-on preview of the title reflects our thoughts on an early build supplied by Bandai Namco for PS5. Elden Ring will release on PlayStation, XBOX and PC platforms on February 25, 2022.

Symphony of the Souls...

Why does FromSoftware want to hurt us? Let me rephrase that, why do they want to test my patience? Have me tirelessly wander a mystical world of perilous pitfalls and pearls? If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, try again. Elden Ring may well be the Japanese studio’s greatest accomplishment yet, developing the quintessential Souls-like action-adventure. An acquired taste, the round-about category poses a stringent mindset that players are required to grind through, if anything become numb towards the fact that they will repeat, and retrace steps numerous times throughout their journey. Elden Ring poses this formula, and depending on which class is your perfect fit, it may demand a little more understanding of integral skills, and character building than just simply slinging a sword to progress.

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For the uninitiated, Elden Ring’s plot can be quite the convoluted one, depending on who you encounter. But the confounded premise is told through a series of events and dialogue that are discovered across the Lands Between. After a cataclysmic event spells the demise of the Elden Ring, shards of its physical being are littered across the realm, and are known as Great Runes, while the Erdtree blooms bright signifying the Ring’s presence in its stead. The prodigy of Queen Marika the Eternal now overrules the realm, harnessing the magic of each shard which grants them endless power. Known as a ‘Tarnished’ after being exiled from the realm of the Lands Between, it is now up to you to be the hero, regroup all lost pieces of the Elden Ring, restore the land back to its former glory and claim the throne as the Elden Lord.

Sounds majestic, right? Well let me tell you right now, if you have never played a Souls-like title before, you’re in for one of the biggest grinds of your life. Akin to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Elden Ring’s gameplay is about a lead-in strategy rather than the charge. Laced in the element of espionage tactics, hiding in tall shrubs, keeping a distance from looming threats, and striking when the time is right. But it’s also a game of knowing who to confront, and knowing your place. Don’t just run in thinking that you can take on the world, you’ll perish almost immediately. Moments into the game, I was met with a masked Knight who I thought was a comrade, instead told me to wander off and die in a ditch. My response; “Oh Yeah?” as I slashed him thinking he wouldn’t retaliate. Not even three seconds had passed before he tore me a new one. 

Credit: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment 

What the hell man? I’m supposed to be a Bloody Wolf! I switched up my class to fit a more expeditious pace as the Souls-built class wielded heavy artillery weighing me down. Each of the five classes that are readily available entail two versions which you may pick from the onset. The Warrior was a perfect fit, with an ambition for acrobatics and close range combat. Testing your tried and true dexterity in combat, you will have to re-educate yourself if you decide to switch up classes, as no two-control schemes are the exact same. Your Level, Vigor, Mind, Endurance, Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Faith and Arcane abilities can all be scaled and improved upon, while keeping a thought in mind for other imperative attribute skill-trees like offensive stats which contain six of its own respective damage branches, Base Stats like health, mana and stamina, also Defensive and Equipment Stats.

It’s a robust character tree that will take some time getting used to. I was able to note all this within the limitations of our beta’s constrained preview, but there’s definitely a lot happening in just pure character development. Now of course, the game is an aesthetic marvel. A title that will have your jaw drop from its medieval architecture and dank catacombs. The alluring factor of traversing across the realm’s deep valleys is to engage with its plethora of demonic creatures that will gnaw at your very being. I don’t recommend seeking vengeance, as they do remember who you are and will only come at you twice as hard. Echoes of previous players that have tried to best these foes will surround the area, with drops supplied before challenges approach. These can be viewed when hovering over them and tapping the signalled action button, in the PS5’s case, Triangle.

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Is it a fair game? No. It’s not meant to be. But it’s lofty and will unequivocally keep you busy for hours on end. It’s undoubtedly going to be a time sink that precludes players from their goal. There wasn’t enough time given to cipher through each facet in the game, while trying to traverse its incredibly vast landscape. But that’s a massive plus, given the insane content that’s included just in the title’s beta. This early handout has exceeded my expectations, my only gripe is those bloody jump scares. Yes, enemies will peak around corners and flail on you like a flame to a moth. It’s not for the faint at heart, and will certainly have gamers questioning their skills by the end of it. Elden Ring’s core nature is to reach out beyond the ether, grasp that golden chalice yet take it away with merciless intent. I can’t wait to dive in, mount my trusty steed and race through each one of seventeen locations in the Lands Between. I want to be the Elden Lord.

Elden Ring releases for PlayStation, XBOX and PC Platforms on February 25, 2022.

Elden Ring - Bandai Namco

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Elden Ring is an upcoming action role-playing game developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. The game is a collaborative effort between game director Hidetaka Miyazaki and fantasy novelist George R. R. Martin, and is scheduled to be released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on February 25, 2022.

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